Campus News

Creative Teaching Awards 2017

Trisha Branan

The Creative Teaching Awards recognize UGA faculty for excellence in developing and implementing creative teaching methods to improve student learning. These awards are presented annually on behalf of the Office of Instruction, the Center for Teaching and Learning and the Office of the Provost to faculty who have demonstrated either the use of innovative technology or pedagogy that extends learning beyond the traditional classroom, or creative implementation of subject matter that has significantly improved student learning outcomes.

Trisha Branan, Clinical and Administrative Pharmacy, College of Pharmacy

Trisha Branan, clinical assistant professor of pharmacy, transformed the Critical Care Pharmacy course PHRM 5370.

Branan worked with course co-coordinator Anthony Hawkins and instructional designer Russ Palmer to create a virtual intensive care unit patient room that allowed students to interact with various health care disciplines and patient families. She uses pre-formed dialogue, replicated vital sign monitors and access to laboratory data to mimic clinical practice.

Her innovative efforts provided a set of immersive and interactive learning tools that allowed students to think critically and communicate effectively to make clinical decisions in scenarios that are reflective of real-world critical care pharmacy problems.

Jason Cantarella, Mathematics, Franklin College of Arts and Sciences

Jason Cantarella, professor of mathematics, designed a revolutionary learning experience in the level one calculus course. With funding from the NSF, he created Robot Calculus.

Through the incorporation of progressive calculus tools, his students experienced firsthand the direct impact of mathematics on robotic programming and how these concepts may be applied to other predictive reasoning. The National Science Foundation reviewed the project, citing that “students in the [robot calculus] sections were better equipped to approach and solve the applications questions.”

The predicted impact of this course on STEM disciplines is substantial, particularly for engineering.

Julie Luft, Mathematics and Science Education, College of Education, and Kristen Miller, Biological Sciences, Franklin College of Arts and Sciences

Julie Luft, Athletic Association ­Professor of Mathematics and Science Education, and Kristen Miller, director of biological sciences in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences, collaborated on a course that prepares undergraduate students to be peer learning assistants.

Although other faculty have used PLAs in the past, they created an innovative course to give advanced students the pedagogical training needed to better help other students succeed in challenging math and science classes.

The PLAs provide support and ­individualized attention to their students. In addition, their course provides a means for the PLA students to master course content, put learning into action and vital communication skills.

Their vital assistance to the class also allows the faculty more time to focus on teaching and improving student outcomes.